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Water Recovery Systems And Control Valves - Patent 7934663


This invention relates to water recovery systems and control valves for water recovery systems. The invention has particular application to the recovery of water from the hot water pipe or conduit downstream ofa household hot water storage tank after it has cooled. A well known problem with household hot water reticulation systems is that the water which remains in the pipe between the hot water storage tank and the shower head (that is downstream of the hot water storage tank) while the shower tap isturned off loses its heat and then is discarded by the next person using the shower because it is not warm enough. Such water will be referred to herein as "standing water". Other household facilities such as washbasins and sinks are subject to thesame waste problem. Similar problems exist with other buildings and the present invention may have application in those cases as well. A number of attempts have been made at overcoming the abovementioned problem of water wastage. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 5,105,846 to Britt describes a recovery system in which the standing water downstream of the hot water tank is divertedto a small pump which pumps the diverted water into the cold water pipe from where it flows back into the hot water system to be reheated or to any other cold water tap which is turned on. The system uses a timer to set the period of time for which thepump runs or the pump can be manually switched on and off as desired by a user. The Britt system suffers from a number of problems, one being that it relies on the user switching the pump on and running it for a suitable period to purge only thestanding water. Another is that the user has no indication that the water in the pipe has cooled too much to be used as hot water. U.S. Pat. No. 5,564,462 to Storch describes a recovery system in which the standing water downstream of the hot water tank is diverted to a small tank and then pumped into the inlet pipe to the hot water tank via a pressure sensi

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